: Lower Longsleddale
25th September 2011
came as a bit of a surprise to me that it is over two
years since we visited Lower
We had then intended to visit more of that long
lovely valley but had quite forgotten about it until
today. Somewhat later in the day than intended,
we parked near Garnet Bridge and immediately saw two
of the better displays of washing!
Bridge falls (plus first washing)
washing with geese
followed the footpath up the western side of the valley
passing several interesting sights including:
small unnamed tarn
propeller and shaft in an invisible boat
and sheep peacefully grazing
slabs standing like small gravestones by the side
of the path
fine old cottage at Nether House Farm
small unnamed tarn
peaceful cattle and sheep
slabs by the side of the path
late lunch was taken by the River Sprint, just before
our turning point at Docker Nook. This is one of the
homes of Meg and Mog, or at least of their creator,
Helen Nicoll, who was born in Natland, the village where
we live, in 1937. There was an item about her
and Docker Nook on the old Natland website, Natland.info, but, as that
no longer exists, the Where
Are They Now?
item is reproduced below.
& Mog house at Docker Nook
picture crossing the River Sprint
a short road stretch, we turned off at Murthwaite and
began the climb up the hill. Looking back, as we rose
up, first Froswick, then Ill Bell and finally Yoke came
into view, the weather improving as we climbed.
back up the valley
(just), Ill Bell and Froswick now in sight
passed over the shoulder of Murthwaite Knott, a completely
different but equally impressive panorama opened up-
Whiteside plus that of the Whinfell range and, in particular,
Whinfell and the Howgill ranges
friendly (?) bull
bull with friends!
route led down to the A6. The original intention
had been to cross over and explore the countryside on
the other side but time was getting tight.
weather was weird. There was hardly a cloud in the sky
yet it was raining. Only ever so slightly but
definitely rain, falling from who knows where?
the hill, on the east side of the mouth of the Longsleddale
Valley is a building that looks like a large hen hut.
The map calls it a filtration plant which suggests
that it might be something to do with the Haweswater
to Manchester water tunnel. However I can find
nothing about it on the internet. Anyone know
hen house filtration plant!
path down to Garnett Bridge and the car was a bit of
a challenge. Somewhat overgrown with brambles
and nettles but the biggest problems were the very slippery
Bridge, Potter Fell behind.
we safely negotiated the hazards and returned home in
good time for Margaret to produce and deliver Granny's
25th September 2011
more, click on Great
Little Walks 2009
Little Walks 2010
Are They Now?
the occasional series featuring former Natlanders
Meg, Mog and Helen Nicoll
is the most famous Natlander?
no doubt, say Yan, Hamilton
and Woody of the
rock band British
However, a contender for the title is Helen Nicoll,
although perhaps the names of her literary progeny,
the children's favourites
Meg and Mog, are more widely recognised
than that of their creator.
those who missed out on this part of childhood,
Meg is a witch whose spells usually
end in disaster whilst Mog is her
long suffering cat. Another key character
is Og, the owl.
Helen Nicoll was born in Natland in 1937, was
discovered from the
whilst googling the word "Natland". It
goes on to say:
She was educated at
schools in Bristol; Dartington Hall, Devon; and Froebel Education Institute,
London. Helen Nicoll married Robert Kime in 1970 and they have one daughter and
Helen Nicoll was a television producer with the BBC for many years. It was
here, as Producer of the children's educational series Watch, that she first met
Jan Pienkowski. After working together for four years, they decided it was time
to preserve their creativity in book form for future generations of children to
enjoy. The result is the immensely popular Meg and Mog series.
In addition to the Meg and Mog series, Helen has a long and varied
association with Puffin - as editor of the Junior Puffin magazine The Egg from
1977 - 1979, as compiler of the popular children's poetry anthology Poems for
Seven Year Olds and Under, illustrated by Michael Foreman, and through her
partnership with Puffin, the enormously popular series of Puffin Cover to Cover
story tapes of which Helen is the Producer.
information is, to an extent, repeated on several literary
websites; one French site suggests that she grew up
in Westmorland which might be accurate or just a loose
translation of a summary the above.
described her, in 2004, as "... tall and thin, with straight, dark hair and Yohji Yamamoto shoes;
iconic shoes that never date. He [Pienkowski] is rounder, fuzzier at the edges, but
punctuated by a very precise beard. Naturally, she is Meg and he is Owl [Og],
straight out of those storybooks the two of them created together, a look as
distinct as a fashion house, pictures in unmistakable colours, loud and clear,
like jelly beans."
The article goes on to describe how
they used to conjure up their stories by
meeting at a service station halfway between
her significant part in producing the cassette tapes
of the Harry Potter stories, narrated by Stephen Fry.
to find out more about Helen Nicoll, Natland.info wrote inviting her to contribute her
memories of Natland, if any! Unfortunately, despite
several direct and indirect attepts to involve her,
no reply has been received. Although she currently
lives in Wiltshire, it seems that she maintains links
with the area as the Lake District National Park
Mrs Helen Kime as applying last year for permission for the "Repair, alteration and refurbishment of house. Conversion of barn to form
ancillary domestic accommodation to house a library" in Longsleddale.
So maybe Meg and Mog may yet make an appearance
in the area!
anyone remember Helen Nicoll from their youth?
3rd October 2009
Helen Nicoll died in 2012
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